Haridwar-Tungnath-Deoriatal-Badri Narayan in October

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#106 Nov 7th, 2017, 23:13
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#106
thank you rajatchakraborty...your guidance, in turn, helped me complete my first trek! and if reading this write up makes you feel a little nostalgic, I am much obliged.
#107 Nov 8th, 2017, 00:20
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We left our hotel at 5 am in the morning. The night had not yet dissolved into the daylight. But the bus stand was busy. The conductors were busy convincing potential passengers. Without much trouble, one of them made us hop into his Himgiri Express. Our destination for the day was Ukhimath. But, at that time of the day, no direct bus was available. So, we chose a bus that would take us till Rudraprayag.

We were taking it as it came. We were not too sure about the options available at Rudraprayag. Of course, there were plenty of posts of the place. But, you never 'see' a place before you actually reach there. This freedom was what we were looking for. No fixed plan for us. We wanted to experience this way of travelling.

The bus roamed past Haridwar, and in the early morning sunlight, we got the first glimpse of the Ganga, white and pure--joyful. We could see the golden dish through the innumerable leaves that formed the mystery of the Rajaji National Park. The bus honked, and the silence engulfed. The sunbeams were caressing the trunks of the trees that had been standing there for decades. It was a primitive scene and the road, and the occasional vehicles were intruding into the timeless frames with grotesque shapes and sounds.

Eventually, the rawness of nature gave way to the refinement of civilization--we were entering Rishikesh, the abode of sages. A glimpse of the popular Laxmanjhula and we proceeded deeper into the mountains. The roads started to become more curvy, and the mountains taller. The mountains and the roaming clouds composed paintings on the blue canvas of the sky. It was a beautiful day and we were thinking about Devprayag that we were about to behold soon.

But even before that, it was time for breakfast. The bus stopped at Tindhara, a non-discreet town on of the numerous turns which the road ran through. It was a hearty breakfast with Alu Paratha and chutney. But the river and the mountains were obstructed by the bus, and we were waiting to move further. The journey has just began, and we had seen so little.

Eventually, we saw the spectacular Devprayag. The blue of Alkananda blending into the white of Bhagirathi to transform into the Ganga. From a few hundred feet above, the sangam seemed as calm and serene as its name befits. It is here that the mighty Ganga is formed, though she has travelled a few hundred kilometers already from the dreaded locks of Surya Kund, or the even mightier heights of the Mount Shivling. From here on, it will be worshipped as the mighty mother, who would be sustaining the entire north India.

We reached Rudraprayag by 11 am, before the time estimated by the conductor. We had quite some time at hand, and we thought of seeing the sangam. With our backpacks on, we headed towards the sangam. A new town, new roads, new people, and yet everything seemed so familiar. And soon, we started descending the stairs that would lead us to the temple and finally the prayag where Alkananda and Mandakini meet to form Alkananda. The river here is rudra, awe inspiring in its thunderous manifestation.

But does it know its destiny? Can it predict that thousands of twists and turns that are ahead of it? Does it know, after days, it would cross the banks of a city, where amidst millions; I too am struggling to survive? Or, has it imagined the multitudinous sea where it will merge one day, losing its name and form? At least at that moment, its youthfulness did not care!

We needed to proceed too. After a quick lunch, we proceeded towards the bus stand. There was a lonely bus standing at the crossroad and it was heading Ukhimath. We hopped in and occupied the left side seats as suggested by seaface on this forum. We were following Mandakini upstream. There were small patches of clouds in the horizon that was mostly guarded by the lofty mountains. Suddenly, a section of the cloud seemed a little unnatural...a little stiffer than how the clouds generally are!

Was it a peak? Yes, we could see a section of the mighty Chaukhamba. O God! Can it be this magnificent? How does the entire Chaukhamba look like? What a grand scale of creation! Magnificent is too weak a word to describe it, awe inspiring is too mild to denote how it impacted our vision. Ukhimath was approaching. We talked with the driver and he assured us to stop in front of the Bharat Sevashram before the bus climbs up to the market.

When we got down, it was 3:30 in the afternoon, the golden sun was mellowing down. We enter the ashram to check if there were any room available. We were lucky. The caretaker took us to a room from where the Kedar peak was visible. Through the window nets, we could see the massive piece of rock that has been standing high of thousands of years. How many sunrises and sunsets have it witnessed?

We were thankful of the things we have witnessed so far, and we thought of paying our homage to the gods. So, we headed towards the temple where Kedarnath is worshiped in winters. It was a beautiful walk of half an hour before we reached the temple. A temple in the Dev Bhoomi. The mighty Kedar peak was behind the clouds, at that moment, it was the temple that was standing in front of us. We bowed. As we moved out, the clouds started receding, the magnificent and the glorious Kedar started smiling, and we bowed again.

The night was chilly. The only sound we could hear was that of the Mandakini gushing through the valley some thousand feet below us. The stars lit up the sky, and fell into deep sleep.
#108 Nov 11th, 2017, 21:28
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No travelogue is complete without photographs, and here are a few I snapped on Day 1:

On our way:
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At Devprayag:
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#109 Dec 3rd, 2017, 23:30
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Day 1:
Visiting the Panch Kedar temple
In the afternoon we strolled and asked people about the temple that is the abode of Kedarnath in winter. Someone said it's around 1.5 kilometers of leisurely walk. But with promise came a warning, we were asked by the people at the ashram to return before the dusk fell. Someone has seen a leopard on the road at 7:30 in the evening. We decided to proceed without wasting time. The road was uncannily people-less and the jungle was engulfing it. But, the beauty of the road, the silence of the place was magical. And beyond everything, there was the promise of the mighty Kedar peak.

Finally, we reached the temple. It looked ancient and at that moment there wasn't a lot of people inside. We were blessed with solitude. We said our prayers and thanked the almighty, for ushering those moments that we were living.

Day 2:

Sunrise at Ukhimath:
We woke up before the sun. The sky was still dark, but with a hint of blue. With a trembling heart, I looked out at the direction where the Kedar peak was playing hide and seek last day. And I couldn't believe it! It was right in front of our eyes, in full glory. It was perhaps as magnificent a scene as this in the old days when the sages could see the gods appearing in front of them after century long tapasya.

Uhimath to Sari

There is a bus that comes from Guptkashi and reaches Ukhimath at 7:15 am. You can catch that bus and reach Sari directly. But, as luck would have it, we did not catch the bus, as Heera Singh Negi (our guide) said he would come to BS and take us and another group with him. But when we called him up, he said it would take time. So, we thought of going to Sari ourselves. We got a shuttle jeep till Mastura, and there, we met Heera Singh--one of the amazing personalities we came across in our trip to the Dev Bhoomi. From Mastura, we had to hire a car to reach Sari.

Sari to Deoriya Tal

Finally, it was time to trek. Heera Singh showed us the intimidating mountain in front of us, and informed in a most casual way that the tal is just on the other side of the mountain slope. Our jaws fell, but at the same time, we felt so eager to start the climb. The road is beautifully paved, and the largely covered by jungle. We did not waste time. Heera Singh's dhaba did wonders to us--it recharged our camera and phone, and refreshed us with hot and tasty maggie.

The climb was steep and steep throughout. With the heavy backpack on, we were getting tired, but no body stopped us from taking rest and marvel at the sight. It was just wonderful, as if we had entered a world of myth. The base camp, the village of Sari, was fast receding, the men were becoming indistinguishable, the houses were becoming tiny dots. What was left was the vast universe with the waves of mountains around us.

We were occasionally meeting people coming down from above, and were asking them about their experience. The smile of their face told us the story--it was brilliant. The moonlight created magic and Chaukhamba was clearly visible. It sounded like a dream and we knew that at the adobe of gods, dreams are reality.
#110 Dec 5th, 2017, 23:04
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Reaching Deoriatal

As we started running out of our breath, we were drawing closer to the highest point. The dhabas and small gatherings told us that we were not far off. And at that moment, we met a fellow traveler, and he had an advice for us -- not to look up as we descend the slope. "look up only when you reach the bugyal, there is a surprise waiting for you".
#111 Dec 5th, 2017, 23:15
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#111
Now...this is not fair.
We want to know what was there once you reached the bugiyal!!!
#112 Dec 5th, 2017, 23:59
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This is what we saw as we looked up:

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Sunrise from Ukhimath:
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On Our way to Deoriatal:
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Sunset from Deoriatal:
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#113 Dec 6th, 2017, 00:00
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#113
@rajatchakraborty, if these images can give you an idea...my words are only too vague to describe what it was!
#114 Dec 6th, 2017, 09:06
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#114
Wow...splendid. mountains in full glory!!!
#115 Dec 6th, 2017, 13:28
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#115
thank you for the encouragement! Will post more pics and info...
#116 Dec 9th, 2017, 22:38
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Haridwar-Tungnath-Deoriatal-Badri Narayan in October

Hi, whats the current climate situation in UK, we planned a trip by this month to chopta...!!! I was hearing that roads are blocked?


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